Supraclavicular Versus Transaxillary First Rib Resection for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Maen Aboul Hosn, Paolo Goffredo, Jeanette Man, Rachael Nicholson, Timothy Kresowik, Melhem Sharafuddin, William J. Sharp, Luigi Pascarella

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15 Scopus citations


Background: Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) results from compression of neurovascular structures supplying the upper extremity as they exit the thoracic outlet. Depending on the clinical presentation, surgical decompression may be required. Objectives: Transaxillary (TA) and supraclavicular (SC) approaches are both widely utilized and deemed effective. Our objective was to review the outcomes for both approaches at our institution. Methods: A retrospective review was conducted on patients who underwent thoracic outlet decompression between 2010 and 2015. Data on demographics, comorbidities, presenting symptoms, and type of TOS (neurogenic, venous, or arterial) were collected. Operative times, length of hospital stay, perioperative complications, and outcomes were also studied. Results: A total of 82 thoracic outlet decompression procedures were performed during the study period: 42% neurogenic TOS, 46% venous TOS, and 12% arterial TOS. In total, 49% underwent TA approach and 51% underwent SC approach. Adjunct procedures were performed in 13% of patients. There were no significant differences in average operative time (151.3 ± 54.1 minutes versus 126.1 ± 36.1 minutes, P =.11) or hospital stay (2.3 ± 1.9 days versus 2.4 ± 1.4 days, P =.23) between both groups, respectively. Minor complications were seen in 6% of patients with no significant difference in both groups, whereas 6% had major complications. No perioperative or 30-day mortalities were observed. In total, 49% of patients had complete resolution of symptoms, 46% had partial improvement, and 5% had no improvement. There was no difference in symptom resolution between either group. Conclusions: TA and SC approaches are equally safe and effective for the treatment of TOS. SC decompression allows for adjunct procedures and vascular reconstructions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)737-741
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Laparoendoscopic and Advanced Surgical Techniques
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.


  • TOS
  • first rib resection
  • supraclavicular
  • thoracic outlet
  • transaxillary


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